14 November 2012

Food storage: Baking powder

If you've ever done any baking from scratch, you probably know what baking powder is. It's a leavening agent used raise quickbreads such as cornbread, muffins, cakes, pancakes, brownies, cookies, biscuits- you get the idea.

You may have included baking powder in your food storage. However, there is an alternative to bulk storage of baking powder, and a good reason to consider doing it.

Baking powder works by combining an acid and a base, which causes a chemical reaction that makes bubbles, which causes your bread to rise. By mixing the acid and base as a dry powder, the mixture in baking powder is more stable and won't go "flat" as quickly. Anyone who's used a can of baking powder that's been open in the pantry for very long can probably tell you that it still loses its potency over time. That's why the can has an expiration date on it.

If you store baking soda and cream of tartar separately and in bulk, you're assured of having a supply of baking powder on hand that will keep just about indefinitely, as long as it's kept dry. Just mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar, and substitute the mixture for exactly the amount of baking powder called for in your recipe.